The 23 Best Restaurants In Asheville
The best restaurants in Asheville, from hidden gems to award-winning spots
This carefully curated list of restaurants in Asheville represents the culinary spots that truly define Asheville. You’ll find that it covers the entire city, various cuisines and a range of budgets.
A few of the restaurants on the list are the darlings of Asheville. These include award-winning spots like Chai Pani and Cúrate that put Asheville on the culinary map. You’ll also find a few Asheville institutions like Buxton Hall BBQ, Vinnie’s and Nine Mile.
Other restaurants highlighted are new to the scene and making waves, like Neng Jr.’s. And we couldn’t leave off the breakfast spots and bakeries that alone are worth a visit to Asheville.
Together, the restaurants on this list should satisfy every dining, from casual burger spot to fine dining.
What You’ll Find In This Article
- Map Of Asheville Restaurants
- Asheville Restaurants Worth Visiting
Map of Asheville’s Best Restaurants
And finally, onto the list! Whatever the meal, the reason or the occasion, this best restaurants in Asheville list will guide you to an absolutely memorable and delicious experience.
Note: Buxton Hall BBQ’s final day of service is November 22, 2023. Don’t miss them!
Delicious BBQ, sides and drinks in a cool space in South Slope
Everything about Buxton Hall BBQ is noteworthy. The space is awesome (it’s a former roller-skating rink!), the food is out of this world, the branding is on-point and their banana pudding pie is…. well, you just need to try it.
Buxton Hall is a great place if you want to try the best of the best when it comes to Asheville’s BBQ scene. Plus, it’s located in South Slope so you can hop around to a few breweries after dinner.
We recommend one of the BBQ plates or the buttermilk chicken sandwich. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s first-come, first-served (no reservations!)
Their chicken sandwich is so popular that it got it’s own spinoff restaurant: Buxton Chicken Palace in the S&W Market downtown.
Chill wine bar and eatery with an outdoor patio and epic grilled cheese
Leo’s House of Thirst is a cozy wine bar in West Asheville that is low-key yet also date night worthy. They have a great wine selection and a really great grilled cheese with 3 kinds of cheese on french bread.
The inside is charming and perfectly decorated. It’s the type of place you want to move into. Outside you’ll find a heated patio with picnic tables and fire pits.
You can order wine by the glass or the bottle at Leo’s. They also have beer, cider, various spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.
Appalachian soul food in downtown Asheville
It was an easy decision to include Benne on Eagle on our list of the best restaurants in Asheville. What’s not to love about the cool space with brick walls, the East Fork dinnerware, the flavorful food and the impeccable service.
Their seasonal dinner menu is offered Tuesday through Saturday. You’ll typically find a trout dish on the menu (get it!), as well as steak and a smothered pork chop.
They also offer a daily brunch in downtown Asheville with everything from shrimp & grits to a matcha oatmeal bowl and their famous chicken & waffles.
Benne on Eagle is located at the Foundry Hotel, which is a great option if you are looking for a luxury hotel in Asheville.
‘Mind-blowing’ Indian food in a casual setting
Chai Pani is a locally loved restaurant known for their vibrant Indian street food and welcoming atmosphere. They opened in 2012 and garnered national attention when they won the James Beard Award for best overall restaurant in 2022.
Chai Pani is such a great restaurant all around– the food is flavorful, the vibe is fun and the casual atmosphere keeps it approachable despite its success.
You can typically expect a wait at Chai Pani, but if you have the time it’s definitely worth it. Chai Pani recommends dining on a Wednesday for the shortest wait possible.
Must visit bakery with exceptional pastries and coffee
We typically mention OWL in the same sentence as ‘if you only have time to visit one place in Asheville…‘ But it’s true– OWL is an absolutely exceptional, must visit eatery.
Their bread and butter is, well, bread. It’s flakey and buttery and elevated in the most perfect way. We love their almond rose croissant, morning bun, coffee walnut strudel and even their grain-free nut bread. Their coffee is delicious and the daily savory danish are also can’t-miss.
OWL’s original shop is in West Asheville and they opened a second location in North Asheville in 2022.
Charming restaurant in West Asheville with outdoor seating
If a modest cinder block building with booths, an outdoor patio with bistro lights and delicious steak sounds like your kind of place, you’ll love The Admiral.
The menu changes seasonally but typically includes a few house pastas, sharing plates like like beef tartare and a cheese board, and a few mains. We recommend going hungry!
The food, drinks and service are all noteworthy at The Admiral. It’s an especially great place for a date night.
Asheville’s crown jewel restaurant
Cúrate, a highly rated Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Asheville, is a must-visit for any foodie. It’s simply perfect.
The interior is stunning and the service is always delightful. Their menu includes Spanish tapas, excellent wine options and decadent desserts.
Cúrate won a James Beard Award in 2022 alongside Chai Pani, cementing Asheville’s reputation as a culinary destination. Though it’s not a new restaurant, it’s a definite must-visit whether you are local or just visiting for the weekend.
Japanese soul food with a southern BBQ twist
Ukiah is an excellent spot for Japanese food in downtown Asheville. They have a fun menu with everything from duck hot pot to smoked pastrami short rib. You’ll even find a smoked Carolina pork shoulder with fire roasted kimchi on the menu!
It’s a great place for a group, especially if you are looking to try several different dishes. There’s also a Sake Flight on the menu, as well as a whisky flight featuring a few Japanese varities.
Don’t miss their Sunday brunch complete with breakfast ramen or a Wagyu ribeye with eggs (and shiso chimichurri!)
Italian restaurant with a family feel and hearty food
Vinnie’s is the perfect place if you love a good red sauce and want to feel like you are a part of the family. It’s welcoming and casual with a great menu full of delicious Italian food.
We especially love their chicken parmigiana, pasta al funghi and spaghetti with their signature Sunday Gravy. Their chicken marsala and twice-baked meat lasagna are also crowd favorites.
Vinnie’s has a second location in South Asheville.
Hidden gem restaurant in the River Arts District
You’ll find The Bull and Beggar tucked away in the artistic River Arts District. It’s a wonderful French-inspired restaurant with an unassuming exterior and a captivatingly charming interior.
Indulge in crowd favorites like their succulent oysters and bread with charred onion butter, or savor the classic perfection of their steak frites. For an unforgettable dining experience, don’t miss the 34oz bone-in ribeye, dry-aged for 30 days and served with butter, roast potatoes, and a refreshing salad.
The interior of The Bull and Beggar features lofty ceilings, two levels of intimate seating, and an elegant yet rustic atmosphere. You can also enjoy the charming patio area when it’s nice out. It’s covered during the winter months.
Fairy tale cottage fit for a memorable evening
ELDR can be categorized as a love at first sight kind of place. It truly has a Snow White and the 7 Dwarves feel. The interior is just as charming but in a totally different way. It’s somehow both cozy and modern at the same time. A true work of art!
Their menu features new American cuisine, natural wine, craft coffee and cocktails. If you are there for dinner, start with the focaccia by local bakery Mother AVL with strawberry butter. They also have a few pasta options on the menu, as well as fish, duck and their ELDR burger with 24-day aged beef.
ELDR is tucked away in Grovewood Village near the Omni Grove Park Inn. They offer brunch (weekends), lunch and dinner. As is typical in Asheville, ELDR is closed Monday and Tuesday.
A great restaurant in West Asheville for an intimate date night
You’ll find a beautiful restaurant hidden inside the unassuming Jargon in West Asheville. They also have a great outdoor courtyard with a few tables and bistro lights overhead. And the food is standout, too!
Jargon’s menu is seasonal and ever-changing, but you can always count on excellent food and presentation, from delicious steaks to various salads and small plates.
As far as cocktails go, we especially love their Eat a Peach with thyme-infused Tito’s and the Ice Breaker that comes inside a smoked ice ball.
Colorful, flavorful and delicious meals at a plant-based restaurant
Plant in North Asheville is known for their 100% plant-based menu and dedication to local and organic products. Over 90% of their ingredients are organic!
Plant’s meals are a feast for the eyes and the palate. Colorful, flavorful, and unique, they’re truly mind-blowing. We don’t say that lightly.
We recommend Plant to anyone who enjoys delicious food, whether you follow a vegan diet or not. Make sure to try the ravioli if it’s on the menu!
Perfect steak dinner in the River Arts District
Vivian in River Arts District is the perfect place for a fancy night out or a delicious Sunday brunch.
As far as food goes, their steak dinner is an absolute show-stealer. It’s a 14oz ribeye loin with mashed potatoes and their famous steak sauce. That plus a few on their starters makes for an excellent dinner for two!
If you are there for brunch, try the smoked lamb benedict for something new or the daily quiche with side salad for a classic but delicious meal.
Small space with big flavors and overwhelming national attention
The queer-owned, 17-seat Filipinx restaurant Neng Jr.’s is pretty much THE restaurant at the moment in Asheville. Most recently they were recognized as a top restaurant by both the NY Times and Bon Appetit.
Though the menu changes frequently, it’s full of Filipinx flavors with a southern flare. It changes so often that they don’t even bother posting it anywhere. That’s part of the excitement.
It’s not impossible to get a reservation but you definitely need to plan ahead. They release new reservations 30 days in advance, so if you plan ahead you should be able to snag a table. Try booking for just one person if you really want to dine there and 30 days is too far out!
Daily brunch at a laidback eatery in West Asheville
Sunny Point is an absolutely wonderful brunch spot in West Asheville. Their dishes are fresh, flavorful and creative and the atmosphere is easy and casual.
Their bacon, carrot hotcakes with cardamom cream cheese and huevos rancheros are noteworthy, though you really can’t go wrong with anything at Sunny Point.
It’s a crowd-favorite place, so you can typically expect a wait. But you can bide your time with a coffee and pastry from Rabbit Hole, their sister bakery on the same property.
Laidback restaurant for Caribbean-inspired food
Nine Mile is an Asheville gem! Their food has an upscale feel but the atmosphere is more local neighborhood. They have three locations around town, but the Montford one is our top pick.
It’s a great spot for a date night, whether it’s your first or hundredth. Their Live and Give appetizer (chips with queso, salsa and hummus) is always a good place to start, especially if dining with a group.
If you enjoy fish, try their Mayfield Falls mahi mahi. It comes with a creamy yet somehow dairy-free sauce. It’s packed with flavor and a top bite in Asheville.
Upscale Mexican eatery with lobster nachos and churros
Downtown Asheville’s Limones is a modern Californian and Mexican restaurant. Their food is excellent, the menu is inventive, the location is great and the drinks + dessert are downright fantastic.
We recommend splitting a few plates like the lobster nachos, street corn, the three cheese relleno and the short ribs barbacoa gordita. They have larger dishes as well but we can’t get enough of the appetizers!
For an absolutely remarkable evening, order the churros and sipping hot chocolate for dessert.
Make reservations in advance to secure a table or you can try to grab a seat at the bar.
Relaxed Thai eatery with a dry-erase menu and no social media presence
Little Bee Thai is a great spot for Thai food in downtown Asheville. It’s actually kind of on the outskirts of town, next to Pollen Coffee + Flower Shop if you are familiar.
Little Bee is an order-at-the-counter place with seating both inside and out.
The menu is pretty small compared to other Thai eateries but it’s big on flavor. You’ll find a few curries, Pad Thai, mango sticky rice, salad with house-made ginger dressing and spicy chicken wings, among other dishes.
You can’t specify the heat at Little Bee so if you are sensitive to spices make sure to find out which dishes they recommend for you. We have found that the green curry is typically the spiciest.
Locally-loved cafe with all-star sourdough pancake
Liberty House is a local favorite cafe in Asheville, especially when the weather is nice because they have awesome outdoor seating. They offer a daily breakfast and lunch, as well as a weekend brunch.
The star of the show is the sourdough pancake with blueberries. Their classic breakfast plate with sourdough toast is also delicious, as is their Cobb Salad with tarragon ranch and their BLT. Ok, everything.
If you aren’t looking for a full meal, enjoy a relaxing moment over a coffee and pastry in their garden area.
A must-visit if you love pie and the smell of butter
Yes, the dessert shop Baked Pie Company is so good that it gets its very on spot on the best restaurants of Asheville list. We stand by that.
Baked Pie Company is the only dedicated pie shop in Asheville and boy is it a good one. They have a wide variety of pies, with everything from their best-selling honey pecan pie to the most indulgent cream pies.
The best way to experience Baked is through their amazing pie flight. Choose three pieces of pie from their bakery case and pair them with a scoop of ice cream. It’s a fun way to test out new flavors. You can also buy pie by the slice or a whole pie.
Breakfast sandwiches at a takeout cafe (inside a West AVL coffee shop!)
Tiger Bay is a female, black-owned restaurant that offers both breakfast and lunch. The breakfast bagel (add bacon!) is a great place to start. Another delicious option is their breakfast panini with herb mayonnaise. Both are big on flavor and always hot and fresh.
You can order Tiger Bay online. They’ll give you an estimate time and text you when it’s ready.
Asian fusion eatery in West Asheville that’s big on flavor
Gan Shan West is a delicious Asian fusion restaurant in West Asheville. It’s one of our most recommended restaurants, especially for takeout in Asheville.
Our recommendation for dining at Gan Shan West is to plan to eat family-style. Order a few different appetizers and entrees and split them with a group. We love their pork & chive dumplings, wings, gai lon, General Tso’s Chicken and Japanese fries.
Whatever you do, though, make sure to get the GSW Rice Bowl. Our go-to is to add Koran pulled pork. It’s a spicy, sweet and flavorful meal. The best in Asheville!